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The Boeing Company is on the last stages of making over their 737 aircraft model. It aims to compete with their European competitor Airbus on aircraft fuel-efficiency amidst the soaring fuel prices.
The aviation company revealed several design choices that can lower weight and wind resistance for its upcoming 737 MAX. It had fixed on an 8-inch nose gear extension to make way for a larger engine fan.
The biggest airplane manufacturers are upgrading their airplane models with bigger engines to improve fuel-savings.
“My feeling about it is what they’re saying is plausible. And I’ll just wait until we see the results,” said Hans Weber, president of technology management consultancy Tecop International.
For 40 years, Boeing 737 has been the most-sold aircraft model. It is a major part of airline fleets world-wide. Boeing juggles engineering considerations, market opportunities and costs in upgrading it into the 737 MAX.
Boeing’s main rival, Airbus is also developing Airbus A320neo that will feature updated engines and offers fuel savings of up to 15 percent than the current A320 Airbus model.
Replica plane models of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 are available on Warplanes. Get your favorite aeroplane models made with high quality materials and supreme craftsmanship.
News source: www.reuters.com
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Airbus SAS, the world’s biggest commercial-jet builder, is starting to market a new seating concept for its narrow-body planes that could provide more hip room in aisle seats for larger passengers, an executive said.
The A320 family, Airbus’s best-seller, has six seats abreast that are each 18 inches (46 centimeters) wide between the armrests. The Toulouse, France-based company is studying an idea to shrink the window and middle seats to 17 inches, the same as on a Boeing Co. 737, and widen the aisle seats to 20 inches, said Simon Pickup, director of business operations for Airbus Americas.
Carriers could charge extra for those premium seats, Pickup said yesterday at a conference near Seattle. Boeing and Airbus are seeking ways to differentiate and gain a larger share of the narrow-body market, which Boeing values at $1.95 trillion over the next 20 years.
“It offers airlines a unique way to increase ancillary revenue, it’s unique to the A320 cabin and it certainly would be the most comfortable economy-class seat offered on any current airplane,” Pickup said in an interview. The companies now split the narrow-body market about equally.
The aisles of the A320 would remain 19 inches wide in the new plan, Pickup said. That compares to 20 inches on a 737. An A320 fuselage is wider than a 737.
Airbus offered wider A320 middle seats years ago in a plan that didn’t take off because it was presented before airlines started thinking about ancillary revenue, Pickup said. In the meantime, many carriers have begun charging for services and benefits that used to be free, including the extra leg room offered in exit- row seats.
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Airbus expects to decide soon on a plan to boost widebody output to a rate of 11 aircraft a month even as it delays ramping up narrowbody production.
Airbus had been considering a single-aisle production rate increase to 44 aircraft a month, but has decided to hold off for the moment because of bottlenecks among Tier 2 suppliers. The situation is different for the A330, making a production boost there possible, says John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer for customers. The company expects to reach a production rate of 10 widebodies per month this year.
Airbus COO Fabrice Bregier hints that a decision on the single-aisle side could wait until a rate of 42 aircraft per month is reached, which is expected next year. “It would be premature to do it now,” he notes.
One of the reasons Airbus is keen to boost production is because of its bulging backlog. The company booked 1,419 net orders last year and made 535 deliveries. And 2012 should see order intake move ahead of deliveries, with new orders forecast to reach 600-650, while deliveries of 570 aircraft are expected. The order intake should include about 30 A380s, matching the 2012 delivery target.
Output is only one of the deliberations for Airbus this year. The other is whether to launch an A330 winglet program. Leahy says studies have begun for both forward-fit and retrofit options. A decision is likely this year.
If the devices could yield a 2% fuel burn benefit, Leahy says such a program would likely move forward.
Not on the near-term agenda is the A380-900 program, a stretched version of the aircraft now on the market. Despite occasional customer interest, such a project would not likely emerge until the second half of the decade, says Airbus CEO Tom Enders. The focus now is on ramping up production. Profit-delivering aircraft will go to customers starting in 2015.
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A drag-reducing upgrade kit developed for Boeing MD-80 operators has received supplemental type certification from the FAA.
A Spanair MD-83 plane
Developed by Long Beach, Calif.-based engineering company Super98, the first part of the kit is initially designed to reduce fuel burn by 2.5% or more, with a further 1% benefit available from a more extensive upgrade. Fuel savings were verified in flight tests of an instrumented MD-83 in late 2010 and early 2011.
Fuel savings from the Phase 1 kit are estimated at more than $236,000 per aircraft per year based on a $3/gallon oil price, says Super98. The Phase 1 kit is divided into two sub-kits, the first of which includes flap hinge fairings forward and aft, aileron and elevator tab hinge covers, wing-body sealing and wing trailing edge seals. The second sub-kit includes flap segment seals, a windshield fairing, rudder lower gap seal, aileron edge seal, a main landing gear door skid, refaired tail skid and a horizontal stabilizer tip seal.
The additional modifications that will deliver a further 1% drag reduction require more time to install than overnight maintenance stops. They include slat lower trailing edge seals, slat segment gap seals and spoiler trailing edge extensions.
“We’ve got the first parts assembled and they’re ready to go,” says VP-Sales and Marketing Rolf Sellge. Production plans are currently based on providing up to six shipsets per month. Although MD-80s are being replaced throughout the type’s main operating arenas in the U.S. and Europe, Sellge says the wait list for newer Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 models means many will remain in service well into the decade and beyond. Breakeven for the drag kits comes in a year for Phase 1 and a year-and-a-half for the full kit, he adds.
Super98 expects to have the first kits installed around year-end and the first customer for the full package to be on contract in the first quarter of 2012. Overall, more than 700 MD-80s remain in service.
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Boeing’s decision to replace the engines of its popular 737 jetliner rather than replace it with an all-new airplane is a “dream scenario” for Spirit AeroSystems, a Spirit analyst said.
Spirit also will benefit from American Airlines’ record-setting order announced Wednesday for 450 narrowbody aircraft placed with Boeing and Airbus.
Spirit builds the 737 fuselage in Wichita.
It also builds parts of all Airbus aircraft at its plants in the United Kingdom.
“The American order is good news for us all the way around,” said Spirit spokeswoman Debbie Gann said.
Shares of Spirit jumped 7.3 percent Wednesday, gaining $1.50 to close at $22.07. Shares have traded between $17.93 and $26.49 in the past year.
The plan to replace the engines on the 737 with more fuel-efficient engines called the Leap X is subject to approval from Boeing’s board of directors. A Boeing official said Wednesday that the program is expected to be launched sometime this fall.
American’s order to Boeing includes 100 737 Next Generation aircraft with options for 40 more. It also committed to buy 100 of the planes with the new engines with an option for 60 more.
American’s order to Airbus is for 260 single-aisle aircraft, including 130 of A320 family of aircraft with new engines, called the A320neo, for new engine option.
Boeing’s decision to go with 737 engine replacement rather than replacing the 737 with an all-new design is good for Spirit, said Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia.
A new airplane would present a major risk, he said.
Boeing would put work on the new plane out for bid, he said. And there are no guarantees whether or how much work Spirit would win.
The 737 program accounts for half of Spirit’s revenue and keeps thousands of its 10,400 Wichita employees busy.
Without the program, “the big risk is keeping people working,” he said.
In addition, Boeing officials have said that a replacement plane would likely be a composite aircraft. A composite fuselage would require fewer workers than the aluminum 737.
Aboulafia called the 737 a “relatively labor intensive fuselage” by comparison.
“Building the same tube you’ve built for decades is very different from having to collaborate the design work and new equipment needed to build something new,” Aboulafia said.
Adding new engines to the 737 is not a major change to the design.
“It’s a minor derivative,” he said.
The re-engining project will keep the 737 in production for many more years, Aboulafia said.
For its part, Spirit is digesting the news of Boeing’s decision, Gann said.
“We’ll be obviously working closely with Boeing to support the re-engine,” she said. “We’ve been talking with Boeing about all kinds of possibilities trying to stay in a position where we can support our customer whatever they decide.”
The decision came months earlier than expected.
Last month at the Paris Air Show, Boeing officials said they would not rush a decision, which would likely be made toward the end of the year.
Boeing has had separate teams studying the two options. Customers seemed to be leaning toward an all-new aircraft, officials have said.
Airbus outshined Boeing at the air show with announcements of hundreds of orders for the A320neo.
In addition, Boeing had to compete vigorously with Airbus for the American Airlines order.
In the end, the decision against launching an all-new plane came down to production worries, said Jim Albaugh, head of Boeing’s commercial aircraft division.
The challenges of producing a new composite airplane at the high production rates necessary to meet demand was a big stumbling block, he said.
“While the technology was there to do a new airplane, the production system is not understood how to build some 60 composite airplanes a month,” Albaugh said.
A new airplane would not be ready in the short time frame customers desired.
“They wanted more airplanes now,” Albaugh said.
In making the decision, Boeing was able to “stave off a disaster,” Aboulafia said.
“In 10 years, it (production) might be solvable,” he said. “I think they knew volume production of a composite tube is quite problematic given what we know about production today.”
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Tiger Airways Australia, a subsidiary of Singapore-based Tiger Airways Holdings, was grounded Saturday for five days by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority over a series of safety issues with their A320 planes.
In an unprecedented move, CASA said it no longer had “confidence in the ability of Tiger Airways Australia to satisfactorily address the safety issues that have been identified.” CASA has been monitoring TT since January; it issued a “show cause” notice in April expressing concerns. Following TT’s response to the show cause notice, CASA said it imposed a number of conditions on the airline’s air operator’s certificate.
According to CASA, these conditions required actions to improve the proficiency of TT’s pilots, enhance the airline’s pilot training and checking processes, make changes to fatigue management, improve maintenance control and ongoing airworthiness systems, and ensure appropriately qualified people fill management and operational positions.
CASA is expected to apply to Australian federal court to extend the grounding beyond the five days, a move that could keep the airline’s 10 Airbus A320s idle for some time. Two safety breaches by TT pilots over the past week, including an incident of flying too low, prompted CASA to ground the airline.
Tiger Airways Holdings CEO Tony Davis arrived in Australia Monday to take charge of negotiations with CASA. In a statement, Davis said he was “very disappointed” that the airline had been grounded.
Though CASA declined to comment, industry sources said the watchdog wants the airline to make a range of management changes and to re-qualify all of its pilots in third-party simulators before allowing operations to recommence. The requirements could take up to a month to fulfill, affecting up to 35,000 passengers a week. The weekly cost to TT in lost revenue is estimated at as much as A$1.5 million ($1.7 million).
TT’s grounding comes less than two weeks after the release of a report by Australia’s Senate on airline safety that included 22 recommendations. High among them were tougher safety standards, better incident-reporting guidelines and increased training of pilots.
CASA grounded Ansett Australia’s Boeing 767 fleet in 2000 and 2001 over various safety breaches. The airline collapsed in September 2001.
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Airbus cancels its A320 and A321 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion program, saying demand for the airliner version means there is not adequate supply for a conversion program.
“Recent market developments, including the success of the upcoming A320NEO, have resulted in more demand for A320 passenger aircraft and less for freighter versions in this aircraft category. In addition, strongly growing passenger traffic results in high demand for used A320 family aircraft, thus reducing the amount of aircraft available for conversion,” Airbus says, adding that “against the backdrop of these market changes and the increasing pressure on the P2F business case, the partners have concluded to stop and freeze the P2F program.”
Airbus was working with its sister-unit EADS EFW, Russia’s United Aircraft Corp. (UAC) and Irkut on the conversion program. As a result, the joint venture for the business, Airbus Freighter Conversion, has been terminated. Ownership of the joint venture was 32% EADS EFW, 18% Airbus and 25% each for UAC and Irkut.
Work on one A320 prototype aircraft, provided by AerCap, was already under way, although series production had not been initiated. First flight of the aircraft was due this year.
AerCap already had an agreement with Anglo-Swedish cargo airline West Atlantic to be the launch operator of the A320 P2F aircraft. The airline was to lease three aircraft, starting next year, with options for four more.
Airbus would not disclose financial terms linked to the cancellation of the program, including any penalties owed to customers, such as AerCap.
The move also sets back Airbus’ plans to expand freighter activities. The aircraft maker has long bemoaned that its cargo portfolio is far smaller than rival Boeing’s. However, the cancellation of the P2F initiative, along with the decision several years ago not to proceed with the A380 freighter, leaves Airbus with the A330-200F as its only active freighter product.
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On Jan. 4, UK low-cost carrier easyJet has confirmed an order for fifteen Airbus A320s and switched a deal for the delivery of twenty A319s to the larger A320 to help it gain share in the European market.
The company also said it had secured options over a further 33 A320 aircraft, taking its total number of options to 42, and strengthening its relationship with the European manufacturer.
It currently operates 185 A320 family aircraft and eight Boeing 737-700 aircraft.
EasyJet said it had been granted a substantial price concession from Airbus and its engine maker on the total list price of about USD$1.1 billion for the 15 A320s.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall said the orders would help deliver easyJet’s growth strategy, whilst providing even more flight capacity for passengers.
EasyJet, which switched allegiance from Boeing to Airbus in 2002, said it continued to maintain a productive dialogue with the US manufacturer on its current and future programs.
Headquartered at London Luton Airport, easyJet Airline Company Limited is a British airline which carries more passengers than any other United Kingdom-based airline, operating domestic and international scheduled services on 500 routes between 118 European, North African, and West Asian airports.
Manufactured by Airbus, the A320 is a narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner which was launched in March 1984, first flew on 22 February 1987, and was first delivered in 1988.
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Hometown airline and fan-favorite JetBlue Airways turned its classic blue livery green on its first specially painted Airbus A320 aircraft in honor of the New York Jets on its turf at Hangar 81 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The newly branded aircraft was revealed by CEO Dave Barger and NY Jets Chairman and CEO Woody Johnson, together with Curtis Martin, Emerson Boozer and other Jets alumni players, the Jets Flight Crew and hundreds of the airline’s crewmembers.
“The synergies between the Jets and JetBlue are core to what it means to be a part of this great city,” said JetBlue CEO Dave Barger.
“When we partnered with JetBlue, we were excited about their commitment and desire to be creative and innovative,” said Jets Chairman and CEO Woody Johnson. “This plane takes our partnership to a new level and new heights, both literally and figuratively. We are looking forward to not only seeing our Jets jet in the skies around the New York region, but across the country and around the globe.”
Designed by T.J. McCormick, JetBlue’s general manager of brand design, the Airbus A320 interchanges blue for green, featuring a green belly, green wing tips and a green tail, with large green JETS lettering across the fuselage and a football helmet towards the rear of the aircraft.
In place of a characteristic ‘blue’ name featured under the cockpit of each aircraft, this plane features the airline’s co-branded trademark with New York State’s iconic tourism campaign and logo, I LOVE NEW YORK, solidifying the carrier’s status as the official hometown airline of New York.
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Airbus A320 narrow-body jet airliner
In August 2011, Airbus will increase the monthly production rate of A320 family aircraft to 38 while in the first quarter of 2012, it will increase to 40.
The manufacturer said that “the decision to raise its single-aisle production rate is driven by the continuing strong demand for the A320 family and a record backlog in excess of more than 2,200 aircraft.” The current rate is 34, rising to 36 on December.
“The recent Farnborough International Airshow, where Airbus garnered orders worth $28 billion in total and the leasing companies made a strong return to the market, was clear evidence of a strong and positive trend towards recovery,” said Executive VP-Programs Tom Williams.
There are more than 6,500 A320 narrow-body jets sold and more than 4,300 delivered to more than 310 customers and operators. The A320 family aircraft have passed the 50-million-flight milestone and carried 5 billion passengers since entering commercial service in 1988 according to Airbus.
By comparison, Boeing has sold 8,450 B737s, of which 5,318 are NGs. It is the rival of the A320 aircraft.
The A320 has a wingspan of 34.10m, a length of 37.57m, and a height of 11.76m while the B737 has a wingspan of 28.35m, length of 30.53m and a height of 11.23m.